The state Government Accountability Board will order a recount of results, in the 21st state Senate District recall election between incumbent Republican Van Wanggaard and Democratic challenger John Lehman. Government Accountability Board staff attorney Mike Haas says the order for the recount will issued by GAB on Monday, and the Racine County Clerk’s office will begin the process at 9:00 Wednesday morning. “The recount has to be completed within 13 calendar days of the date that we issue the order. After that time there’s an appeal period of five business days, if a candidate wants to appeal to circuit court,” says Haas.
Barring an appeal, GAB would then certify the results. Right now, Democrat John Lehman leads Republican incumbent Van Wannggard by 834 votes. Costs of the recount will be borne by the taxpayers of Racine County, although the Wanggaard campaign did pay a fee $685 when the petition requesting the recall was filed with GAB.
The normally outgoing Wanggaard, who’s been virtually invisible since June 6th, released a statement. “I hope a trusted and verified result of the election will finally allow us to move forward.” His petition to the Government Accountability Board cites process irregularities, such as individuals voting in more than one location, challenges by election observers were either not properly documented or acknowledged, and individuals were given incentives to vote. Democratic leaders are responding as expected, claiming Wanggaard and the Republicans are playing more political games at taxpayer expense. Wanggaard, in his statement, states “this is not about maintaining power.”
Lehman, who as an incumbent lost to Wanggaard in 2010, thought he’d be focused on getting back to his old job in Madison soon, but the decision by Wanggaard to seek a recount of the June 5th election results is throwing a monkey wrench into those plans. “Scott Walker won in that district, so there are certainly a lot of votes counted on the Republican side as well as the Democrats side,” says Lehman. “We think those vote totals will hold.”
Lehman, talking to the media on Friday, says the motivation behind the recount is hard to sort out. “Whether it’s to keep a couple folks in Madison employed for a couple weeks or so, or it there’s some strategy to talk negative about the way elections are conducted, and the way votes are counted in Wisconsin.”
Tom Karkow, WRJN